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Marinera is a coastal dance of Peru, generally called the "National Dance of Peru." Marinera is a graceful and romantic couple's dance that uses handkerchiefs as props. The dance is an elegant and stylized reenactment of a courtship, and it shows a blend of the different cultures of Peru. The dance itself has gained a lot of recognition and is one of the most popular traditional dances of Peru. Ever since the 1960s, during the month of January, in the city of Trujillo a National Contest of Marinera is held.

The origin of the Marinera is generally traced back to the zamacueca, a popular dance of the XIX century. Nevertheless, there are various other theories about where it comes from. Traditional accompaniment for the dance is provided by a cajon, guitars and bugles.


The exact origin of the dance is unknown, but it is an unmistakable blend of , Spanish, Moorish, Andean, and Gypsy rhythm influences. It is rooted in the Zamacueca, Canto de Jarana of Lima, and the Tondero of Piura. Though the marinera dance style had been around for centuries in Peru, it gained the name "marinera" in honor of the Peruvian Navy or the Marina de Guerra del Peru in 1879 when Peru entered war against Chile. Prior to the War of the Pacific, it had been called La Chilena due to the friendly situations between the two nations , but due to the hostile situation, in a patriotic moment, it was agreed to be renamed.

The first Marinera to be written in musical notation was La Concheperla of Abelardo Gamarra and Jose Alvarado, by Rosa Mercedes Ayarza de Morales in 1894.

Creation Theories

During the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, the dance was named "la chilena" due to its similarity to the Chilean cueca. Even though it is likely the Marinera has its roots in various different dance-styles, there are several claims as to from where exactly the dance actually came from.

Peruvian proposal

The claim coming from Peru is that the dance is exclusively Peruvian. According to Peruvian historian Romulo Cuneo Vidal, the zamacueca was itself a dance of rest during the times of the Inca empire (And in some Pre-Inca cultures). Thus, coming from such a far natively Peruvian background, the dance is itself simply a derivation of an ancient Peruvian dance. What helps validate this statement are the ancient huacos depicting people resting in the zamacueca positions.

African proposal

The African claim goes to say that the dance comes from African roots. The slaves in South America danced something called the "Zamba culeca," something which later was renamed the "Zamacueca." Thus, since the "Zamacueca" derives from African roots, then all dances that derive from it are also of African descent.

Hispanic proposal

Some favor the idea that the ballroom dances of the days of the Viceroyalty (Brought from Europe) are what later evolved into the Latin American dances such as the Marinera. According to its supporters, the European rhythms such as "Fandango" and "Cashuas" led to the creation of the Chilean Sajuriana, the Venezuelan Zambo, the Argentinean Cielo Gaucho, the Mexican Tas-be, the Colombian Bambuco, the Ecuadorian Amor Fino, and the Peruvian Toro Mata.

Chilean proposal

There are claims that say the Marinera is simply a derivation of the Chilean cueca based on that the dance was renamed "Marinera" because before it had been called "La Chilena." Still, even though this proposal was generally seen as correct, more thorough investigation opened the door for the new theories that the dance itself had always been original to Peru and that the only thing that constantly changed was the name of the dance.


Different schools and dancing styles of the Marinera exist, based on location. There are Marinera dance academies all over Peru, and competitions are frequently held. The most important competition is the National Competition of the Marinera (Concurso Nacional de Marinera) held during the National Festival of the Marinera (Festival Nacional de Marinera), held in Trujillo, every January.

The three main variations are the Marinera Limena, the Marinera Nortena, and the Marinera Serrana. Sometimes the Marinera is danced with a Chalan mounted in a Peruvian Paso .

Marinera Limena

This Marinera is elegant and a little slow-paced in comparisson to other variations. The dance can be interpreted in low or high tones. The Marinera of contrapunto or "canto de jarana" usually consists of three Marineras, Resbalosa (Slippery), and a succession of "fugas" (Escapes).

Nowadays, the Marinera Limena seems to be becoming overshadowed by the Marinera Nortena, because of its popular qualities. Nevertheless, the dance still has a small number of fans that dance it during October fests or during the anniversary of Lima.

Marinera Nortena

This Marinera had its origins in the Tondero of Piura. It acquired characteristics of the Marinera Limena, and soon enough it became a new variation of the dance. The dance itself tends to be quick-paced and though not as "elegant" as the Limena, it can also be very stylish. Even though the dance originated in the Northern coasts of the country, it has become quite popular throughout Peru.

It is thanks to that popularity that the Marinera is considered the National Dance of Peru, along with the Peruvian Waltz.

See also


Peruvian Paso

Peruvian music

Sport in Peru

External links

What is Marinera?

Origen de la Marinera

47th annual Concurso Nacional de Marinera

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Marinera

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